Life can be overwhelming these days. Every day, we exert conscious effort to keep ourselves safe from COVID-19 while also trying to continue working or studying.
Doing so can be physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding that sometimes, a chance to take a break and recharge is all we need to face life’s challenges again.
Fortunately, even without hopping on a plane, we can make our way to places where we can unwind. Batangas, for instance, has attractions that exist solely for relaxation. The best part is that it’s only a few hours away from Manila.
From resorts to farms, here’s where you can de-stress and be at leisure within the province.
Camp Netanya Resort and Spa
Bauan – Mabini Rd, Mabini
Who would’ve known you could travel to Greece without a passport and by traveling entirely through land? Camp Netanya Resort and Spa may be located at Mabini, Batangas, but it’s designed to look like Santorini.
In the resort, the famed architecture of the blue-domed, white buildings of Santorini stands out from the lush greenery.
“The tourists often praise the Instagram-worthy scenery we have here,” says Ike Moreno, the resort’s general manager.
The resort boasts a total of 48 guest rooms, a swimming pool, and a beach area where everyone can enjoy a variety of activities such as snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and a boat ride to Sombrero Island.
If you don’t have any background on diving, they have diving courses and packages taught by certified professional drivers.
After a full day of activities, the resort’s OIA Spa can help you unwind. It features a steam room, spa lounge, massage room, hot bath, and jacuzzi. The place also sells essential oils that can be brought home.
Alternatively, we can recharge in the resort’s dine-in restaurant, which offers a variety of dishes—from Greek food and other international cuisines to timeless Filipino dishes, such as their best-selling noodle soup, Batangas lomi.
Accommodation costs per night range from Php 8,000 to Php 17,000, depending on the maximum occupancy allowed per room (ranging from 2-6 individuals) and the added premium and exclusivity. They also have a Master Villa which could house up to 14 people, priced around P55,000 per night.
For quick trips, day tours are priced at Php 1,700 to Php 2,500. Meanwhile, pre-nuptial packages can also be availed for Php 15,000.
To go to Camp Netanya via public transport, board a Batangas-bound bus in Cubao or Buendia. Upon arrival at the bus terminal in Batangas, board a jeepney headed for Mabini. Tell the driver to drop you off at Mabini Crossing, then subsequently board a tricycle upon arrival. Tell the driver that the drop-off is Camp Netanya.
If traveling via private car, get on the Metro Manila Skyway from Magallanes EDSA. Take South Luzon Expressway / Calabarzon Expressway / Star Tollway and take Batangas City exit at the end of Star Tollway. Take Diversion Rd. in Batangas then take Bauan–Batangas Provincial Rd. Take Palico–Balayan–Bauan–Mabini Rd/Mabini Circumferential Rd in Mabini.
La Chevrerie Resort and Spa
Barangay Ligaya, Mabini
The name of this resort translates to the goat’s place in French. It is a boutique resort and spa in Mabini, a two and a half-hour drive away from Manila.
The resort’s relatively small size and capacity compared to its counterparts in the area give it one of its greatest strengths: exclusivity. This allows guests to fully enjoy the nice and quiet that the place has to offer.
“People should visit La Chevrerie because it has a breathtaking view with good food, spacious rooms, and quality service,” says Yvonne Dalanon, the resort’s hotel manager.
The bubble of privacy provides an atmosphere of calm and comfort, further accentuating the beauty of the mild sea, the diverse marine life, and that of the sunrise and sunset.
La Chevrerie offers a wide range of activities, which include snorkeling, scuba diving, and kayaking. Diving courses and packages are also offered to guests–opportunities we wouldn’t want to miss considering that Anilao is one of the best diving locations in the world.
They can also arrange a boat ride to a nearby island for a barbecue lunch, and or a trek to Mount Gulugod situated behind the resort.
Feeling hungry? The resort restaurant L’ Atelier offers up to 60 à la carte food choices of different cuisines such as Chinese, Thai, Indian, and of course, French. To cap off the day, avail of the local bar’s happy hour for cocktails and beer from 5 PM-7 PM. Their wine cellar also has drink selections from France, Italy, and Spain.
Resort amenities include 11 deluxe rooms, 1 suite room, and 1 villa, a kids’ playroom, a swimming pool, and the beach. Guests can also bring their yoga mats and other small fitness equipment to exercise wherever they please on the resort.
If you’re a pet lover, La Chevrerie also allows pets, dogs, and cats at no additional charge. Just keep them leashed within the resort’s grounds.
As therapeutic as vacationing with a fur baby may be, we can take the relaxation even further in the resort’s spa, La Brise where premium oil straight from Thailand is used for massage sessions.
Guests can book with La Chevrerie via phone call, Facebook, or email (with a 2-hour response guarantee).
Currently, La Chevrerie offers discounts in light of the pandemic – 10% on weekends and 20% on weekdays – available only when guests directly call and as long as rooms are available. Room rates are around Php 11,088 per night for a maximum of two adults and one kid below 12 years old.
If you’re going to commute from Manila, take a bus to Batangas City Public Terminal. Take a jeepney to Mabini and get down at Mabini Public Market. Ride a tricycle down the Bauan-Mabini Road heading towards Anilao, asking the driver to turn right at the Mabini Tourism Triangle. Head straight until you see La Chevrerie on your right.
Alternatively, if you are traveling through a private vehicle, from Manila, take SLEX (South Luzon Expressway) and Star Tollway all the way to the end. Turn right at the Batangas Port exit. Follow the road going to Batangas Port until you see the Bauan Overpass. Turn right going to San Pascual/Bauan/Mabini.
Go straight then take a right after Jollibee to the Bauan-Batangas Provincial Road. Follow the main road then turn left after Bauan Doctors Hospital. Keep going straight until you reach Mabini Town Proper. Then turn right as you see the Mabini Tourism Triangle. Follow the main road until you see La Chevrerie on your right.
Don Leon Organic Farm
Barangay Poctol, San Juan
Nothing beats farm life for those who want to take it easy for a few days.
That’s exactly what you can do at Don Leon Organic Farm, where you can be surrounded by all types of plants and trees.
Unlike other farms, it actively promotes sustainable and organic farming practices to other farmers and to other individuals interested in the field.
Currently, the farm located in San Juan, Batangas is accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute, an agency of the Department of Agriculture, to facilitate the promotion and training of these sustainable farming methods and the need to go organic when it comes to our food choices.
The decision to develop the farm and center it around growing organic crops and vegetables and raising organic livestock stems from Noel Gutierrez, the farm’s owner. His medical condition forced him to make better and healthier food choices. And what better way to do so than to grow it himself?
So far, the switch to organic has helped him regain his strength, and in developing the farm, he wishes to impart the health benefits that organic food can offer.
Surrounded by various shades of green hitting the sunlight, the organic farm also offers an alternative day activity that’s neither swimming nor hiking. Instead, you can take a stroll and see the various crops and animals in the area.
Guests would be delighted to buy from the farm produce for a more affordable price than their market counterparts. However, don’t just drop by. Contact the management before going to the farm to get your order.
To get to San Juan, Batangas via public transport, from EDSA Nepa Q-Mart, Cubao, or Alabang Grand Terminal, take a bus bound for San Juan, Batangas. Alight at the San Juan Municipal Hall and from there, tell the driver you are headed for Brgy. Poctol where Don Leon Organic Farm is.
Alternatively, if traveling via private car, Take South Luzon Expressway and exit to Ibaan. Drive to Rosario and continue along Rosario-San Juan-Candelaria Road until you reach San Juan. Drive until you see the San Juan Doctor’s Hospital, then turn right to Palingowak Road. Follow the road until you reach and turn left to Poctol Farm-Market Road then turn left to Tipas-Poctol-Pinagbayanan Road, where you can find Don Leon Organic Farm.
All tourist destinations in Batangas have health and safety protocols in place to protect locals and visitors alike. Everyone is expected to comply by wearing face masks, regularly washing their hands, and practicing physical distancing.
To check out up-to-date information regarding local destinations that are open and the safety protocols and requirements needed for each location, you may visit www.philippines.travel/safetrip or download the Travel Philippines app at app.philippines.travel or the Google Playstore.